California-based Smart Utilities Systems has begun a program to provide clean drinking water to about 850 schoolchildren in Noida, India. The program uses reverse-osmosis technology to turn water that is unsuitable for consumption into water that is safe to drink.

This move could save countless lives: India’s World Bank estimates that 21% of the nation’s deaths are related to the unsanitary water supply, and the World Health Organization estimates that 2 million deaths annually are attributed to water borne diseases.  In addition, the United Nations reported that groundwater in one-third of India’s 600 districts is not fit for drinking as the concentration of fluoride, iron, salinity and arsenic exceeds the tolerance levels.

Deepak Garg, Chairman and CEO of Smart Utilities Systems said, “Water-borne diseases are a major burden on India’s fragile healthcare system, especially in rural and deprived communities who depend on available civic water supplies and lack access to water purification solutions.”

The school, Prathamik Vidyalaya, is located in northern India, south of New Dheli. Principal Neeraj Chaube said, “This water purification project doesn’t just involve installing infrastructure for supply of clean-drinking water, it also uses the dispelled waste water from the RO plant as supply for bathrooms, thus ensuring zero waste. We are hopeful this project will have a positive impact on the health of the school children.”

If this initiative is a success, it could serve as a model to help other areas in this country that is so in need of clean water.